Australia/Israel Review


“GIMC” – A hateful gimmick for extremists

Aug 31, 2022 | Ran Porat

HT Australia leader Ismai’l al-Wahwah speaking at the Nov. 2015 “Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” conference in Melbourne. Behind him is the HT Australia banner (YouTube screenshot)
HT Australia leader Ismai’l al-Wahwah speaking at the Nov. 2015 “Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” conference in Melbourne. Behind him is the HT Australia banner (YouTube screenshot)

According to its Facebook page, the aim of the Government Intervention in the Muslim Community (GIMC) group is to “[Raise] awareness about government intervention in the Muslim community through its counter-terrorism policy. Initially for Australia, however, because intervention is a global phenomena [sic], the page now also addresses interference internationally.”

“It is well-known that world governments’ counter-terrorism policies post 9/11 primarily target Muslim communities in their respect [sic] countries,” say the group’s administrators in the page description. “Following the London bombings of 2005 a greater focus on the ‘home-grown’ terrorism phenomenon brought Muslims living in Australia and in other countries into the firing line more sharply. Since then, governments have developed and implemented a broad range of counter-terrorism policies that target Muslim communities. It is also well-known that much of the counter-terrorism agenda of governments, with the US and UK leading the way, is politicised. It is as much a political agenda, if not more, as it is a security one”.

GIMC is not the grassroots community group it purports to be. It is actually a project of the Australian branch of the Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation (HT Australia), which advocates for the reconstitution of a global Muslim Caliphate based on Islamic religious law (Shari’a), while rejecting integration of Muslims into non-Muslim societies.

As I have documented in the AIR several times over the past few years, HT Australia and its leader, Palestinian-born Ismai’l al-Wahwah (Abu Anas), are notorious for supporting terrorism and spreading conspiracy theories, antisemitism, and poisonous anti-Israel rhetoric, including continuous calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

 

“Jews will suffer the worst torment”

Here are a couple of recent examples of previously unrevealed messages and statements from HT Australia. On Aug. 9, the HT Australia Facebook page posted a new antisemitic video narrated by al-Wahwah. In it, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is described as “the army of Jews to which the money of the world flows. A Jewish army supported by all the tyranny of the world.” Al-Wahwah repeats HT Australia’s familiar call to Arab armies to wage Jihad (holy war) “to liberate Palestine”, while labelling the international community (and especially the US) as “the enemies who planted this state [Israel]. They are the ones who created this state. They are the ones who financed this state. The blood of Muslims is on their hands, all of them.”

The video ends with a prophecy that on Judgment Day, “they [the Jews] will suffer the worst torment. These are the Jews. Therefore, Jews will not rise forever. They will not be reassured forever and will not have peace forever. God promised that he will set his men back at them [the Jews] with great might. They will enter the homeland, God willing, Palestine.”

A day later (Aug. 10), during the clashes between Israel and the terror organisation Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza (“Operation Breaking Dawn”), the HT Aus Facebook page republished a message posted from the HT international website, quoting the Quranic verse “And kill them [the aggressors] wherever you overcame them, and expel them from wherever they expelled you” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190). The statement concludes with a call to soldiers in Arab nations to “Brush off the dust of humiliation from yourselves. Do not obey the agents of the kufr [infidel] West. Uproot them and install sincere men who will lead you towards the liberation of your land and the restoration of glory for your Ummah [Islamic nation].”

 

No to interfaith dialogue, yes to stabbing Rushdie

What is GIMC’s association with HT Australia? Followed by more than 11,000 people, the GIMC Facebook page was created after the first “Intervention in the Muslim Community” conference which took place in Sydney in November 2013. In fact, the text of the Facebook page description of the group quoted above is taken directly from the report published by HT Australia after that conference.

That report is an attack on what HT Australia describes as Australia’s “brutally exploitative foreign policy towards the Muslim world.” Accordingly, the authors of the report recommended Muslims in Australia undertake actions which would undermine Canberra’s efforts to protect citizens against terrorism. Muslims, it says, must “expos[e] the counter-terrorism policy of the Government for what it is, challenging and critiquing it, in a sustained and coherent manner, along with the flawed narrative that underpins it, and propagating a counter-narrative reflective of the truth.” Also, Muslims should “[Refuse] to partake in any of the Government’s counter-terrorism programs and initiatives which serve their agenda and perpetuate their narrative about terrorism,” as well as “Adopt more thought-out, confident and assertive approaches towards various aspects of state interaction with Muslims, such as those of ASIO and the AFP.”

The GIMC Facebook page is consistently in lockstep with HT Australia’s hateful messages about Israel, Jews and social harmony. It shares HT Australia content, videos and ideology (such as calls to reinstate the Caliphate), as well as conspiracy theories spread by HT Australia. For example, it repeats the myth that the global fight against terror is just an excuse by the West to rule other countries – “The world knows the whole ‘war on terror’ was a lie and was merely America’s latest scramble for more resources and hegemony over the lands.”

Responding to the news about re-normalisation of relations between Israel and Turkey in mid-August, GIMC posted (Aug. 18): “[Turkish President] Erdogan rewards the Jewish occupation for killing children with a return to full diplomatic ties.” During “Operation Breaking Dawn”, a GIMC post (Aug. 7) asked Allah to “curse every enabler of the Jewish occupation.”

Just like HT Australia, GIMC rejects interfaith dialogue and multicultural exchanges if they involve Jews. In response to an interfaith conference in NSW, a GIMC post (Aug. 7) warned that “Those Muslim Organisation representatives who continue to attend ‘interfaith’ events with Zionists send a message that Muslims in Australia don’t really mind what the criminal occupation does to Muslims in Palestine.” Even Muslim school kids should not meet with Jews. “Muslims [sic] schools continue to participate in Interfaith activities with supporters of the occupation of Palestine. What happened to boycotting the Zionists?” decried GIMC on July 2.

Several GIMC posts were dedicated to defence of the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie in New York on Aug. 12. One post (Aug. 18) included a video of HT UK member Kenan Malik justifying this attempted murder on TV as being a response to “insults”. In another (Aug. 14), the West was blamed by GIMC for praising Rushdie “for insulting and mocking the Ummah… One can only conclude that Western regimes wish only to keep their self-given right to mindlessly insult, mock and anger Muslims so that the west [sic] can continue to murder innocents through their invasions and occupations on the back of the West’s ‘freedom’ to speak lies in justifying their crimes.”

 

The “Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” campaign

A few years ago on its YouTube channel, GIMC published videos attacking Australian government counterterrorism policies as part of its “Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” campaign. These featured interviews with wives of Australian Muslims in local prisons for terror charges. The campaign also included a conference in Melbourne under the same name in November 2015, organised by HT Australia. Keynote speakers at that conference were HT Australia leader al-Wahwah, radical HT Australia preacher Wassim Doureihi and HT Australia media representative Uthman Badar. One of the participants in that 2015 conference was Omar Chandab, whose passport was cancelled after he tried to fly to Syria to join militants there. Speaking to the audience, Chandab opened with praise of HT Australia.

As recently as 2021, AIJAC made a submission to the Australian government recommending it consider a ban on HT Australia. The latest evidence included in this article provides further support for the need to do so, and soon.

 

Dr Ran Porat is an AIJAC Research Associate. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya.

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